Swiss Family Robinson is a 1960 Disney live action film. It is a tale of a shipwrecked family building an island home and is loosely based on the 1812 novel Der Schweizerische Robinson by Johann David Wyss. Walt Disney wanted to
film the movie in a natural site and they considered sites in Sri Lanka, East Africa, Jamaica, and Trinidad. None of these provided the locations the producer was looking for until they were told of Tobago when they were in Trinidad. As soon as they set foot on Tobago they fell in love with it, but realized they would have to ship in all the animals they were going to use in different scenes.
Before I visited Tobago, I made sure to rewatch Swiss Family Robinson and learn where several scenes were filmed so I could visit them. Would you like to hear what I found? Good! 😊
- The famous treehouse was actually built on the island in a 200-foot tall saman tree. The massive tree provided so much shade they crew could only film during a three hour period each day when there was enough sun. After filming, the locals convinced the crew to let the treehouse remain where it became a popular attraction among locals and tourists. The treehouse was destroyed by Hurricane Flora in September 1963. However, the tree still remains, and is located on the property of the Roberts Auto Service and Tyre Shop, located in Goodwood, just off of Windward Road.
- Richmond Bay is the main beach the family used. This beach is rather obscure and not visited by many people. You have to drive down a dirt road for a mile before you reach it. There is a creek that discharges at this beach which splits it in half (Tomorrow’s photo of the day). I think it really cool and where they built the bridge on the beach in the movie. You can also see the hill they defend when the pirates attack at the end of the beach.
My favorite spot is Craig Hall waterfall where the family has a scene of swinging on vines across the water. While the vines were added the rest of the scene is still recognizable. This waterfall is used for local drinking water, so you are not allowed to swim in it, but it is small anyways. Craig Hall Waterfall is just off the road and easy to find, but we missed it and asked a local and he took us to a different waterfall that was truly amazing (I will tell you more about that adventure in a couple weeks).
Would you believe not many of the local people know of the film Swiss Family Robinson much less that it was filmed in Tobago? Luckily, I did and I loved visiting some of the natural sites used in the film.